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SA’s poultry industry is locked into something of a chicken-or-egg conundrum: is the country a net importer of poultry because local producers are inefficient, or have foreign imports rendered them unable to meet demand?

It’s a perennial debate that resurfaced earlier this year, when the SA Poultry Association (Sapa), representing large listed producers such as Astral Foods and RCL Foods, applied to the International Trade Administration Commission of SA (Itac) for a tariff increase. It asked that tariffs be increased to 82% — the maximum allowed under World Trade Organisation rules — from the current 37% for frozen bone-in pieces and 12% for frozen boneless cuts...

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